Erik ten Hag has refused to rule out making loan signings to combat the injuries and illness that threaten to derail Manchester United’s bid to salvage their troubled season.
Ten Hag was without at least 10 senior players for Monday’s 2-0 win at third tier Wigan in the FA Cup third round.
Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen missed the tie due to illness, while Brazil winger Antony was injured.
United’s substitutes were entirely comprising of youngsters, with the oldest outfield player on the bench being 22-year-old Facundo Pellistri.
Although Ten Hag is optimistic a number of players could return in time for Sunday’s Premier League match against Tottenham, he is well aware just how stretched his squad is at present.
With the January transfer window open, the Dutch coach was asked if United would consider temporarily deals as well as permanent signings.
“We consider everything. So what is in the best interests of the players and also the best interests for us, the team, for Manchester United. So we’ll see how we progress during the window,” he said.
United are out of the Champions League and League Cup and are languishing in eighth place in the Premier League, nine points adrift of the top four.
Ten Hag admitted it has been frustrating to lose so many players in recent weeks.
But he won’t that to be an excuse for their woeful run, featuring five defeats from their nine games before the Wigan match.
“I don’t want to be frustrated because I can do nothing for it, it will not help to support the team,” Ten Hag said.
“So we have to get the best performance and best results with the players available and that’s what we’re trying to do.
“I think there will be some players that are hopeful they can be back for the weekend.”
Ten Hag hopes Eriksen can return in time for the Spurs match, while Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire could also be available.
The victory at Wigan sets up an FA Cup fourth round tie at either League Two Newport or non-league Eastleigh.
The competition, which United finished as runners-up in last season, is their only realistic opportunity of silverware this term.
“I don’t think (the focus on the FA Cup) would change if you are still in Europe,” Ten Hag said.
“It is a massive competition. Everyone wants to win this competition. So every game we take seriously.”